Orlando City Council voted to approve a request put forth by St. James Cathedral School to close a sidewalk that bisects its downtown campus.

We told you HERE in February 2023 that the private school had put in a request to shut down and take over the public right-of-way along Ridgewood Street in Lake Eola Heights, in what it claimed was a reaction to a “significant increase in incidents of school violence since 1996.”

The private school was granted permission to block off a section of Ridgewood Street between Hillman Avenue and Cathcart Avenue in 1996, but the City of Orlando maintained rights for pedestrians and bicycles to continue to use the right-of-way on the street as a way to pass through the school campus. This most recent request from the school was to ask the City to abandon the easement in an effort to “protect its students.”

Under the newly passed agreement with the City of Orlando, the school will now be able to lock the gates to its campus and the street from midnight to 8 p.m. daily, when there are classes scheduled to occur. The request for abandonment of the street was not approved, despite a pouty-faced protest from the school lawyer.

The Lake Eola Heights Neighborhood Association, backed by district Commissioner Patty Sheehan, fought against the move, claiming the city was favoring a private organization over the needs of the neighborhood.

The agreement included a clause that reverts the street back to the city if the property, which has a Future Land Use designation of “Residential Medium Intensity,” should ever be sold to another entity in the future.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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  1. Mayor made the correct decision. Students safety is of utmost importance. There’s no need for people to access that sidewalk with kids around.

  2. Did you go to the city council meeting? Im a law student and had to attend 4 out of 7 city commissioners wanted to secure the perimeter of the school 24/7, one called the neighbors petty and another said it’s a no brainer and nonsensical. That was the best part!

    It’s a unique situation because no other school allows public access on their campus ANYWHERE anymore and the sidewalks go through the school.

    Also, the road is owned by the school. So they own the buildings, land on either side of the side walks AND the road. You step off that sidewalk, you’re on private property surrounded by 500 children under the age of 13. Who wants to be in such close proximity to children? I can think of a few weirdos that would.

    AND the road goes east and west and lake eola and businesses are north and south. Strange that this was even up for debate.

  3. So wait. I’m just getting up to speed. The school owns the street and buildings on either side? So the public sidewalks go through a school? Um. Gross. Why would they allow ushering strangers through a school?

    1. The school expanded to a property on the other side of the street back in the day and they’ve been walking the students back and forth ever since. They requested the city to abandon the street and give it to them, but it’s public right-of-way so the city lets them close it to the public during school hours and then reopen to the public at the end of the day.

  4. If i lived in that neighborhood i would petition for a class action lawsuit. They are blocking public access